Thursday, June 22, 2017

Annie Dookhan: Massachusetts: Bulletin: (Falsified lab evidence); White elephant case); Judge orders Dookhan to pay $2m to wrongly convicted man: (Leonardo Johnson was convicted of selling cocaine in 2008, based on a drug lab report.)...A federal judge has awarded more than $2 million to a man wrongly convicted based on evidence falsified by Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist who created a multimillion-dollar crisis in the state’s criminal justice system. It is the first case in which Dookhan has been ordered to compensate any of the thousands of defendants whose cases she tainted. U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani determined that Leonardo Johnson, 53, of Dorchester, is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages for the 15 months he served in prison, because Dookhan gave “false testimony to convict an innocent man.’’ Boston Globe: June 21, 2017.



Image result for "white elephant"

In the years since I started publishing this Blog I have become increasingly disturbed by the 'white elephant' in the room: Sheer, unadulterated, willful   misconduct in the criminal justice system - much  of it involving forensic evidence - committed by lab technicians,  pathologists, police officers, prosecutors and others.  Think Annie Dookhan; Think Sonia Farak; Think David Kofoed; Think Charles Smith; Think Ken Anderson; Think Gene Morrison.  I have therefore decided to run this image of a white elephant at the top of every applicable post henceforth, to draw our reader's attention to   what I see as a major problem in all too many criminal justice system's - my own included.  Harold Levy; Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
"Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009; http://www.t-mlaw.com/blog/post/the-elephant-in-the-crime-lab/

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"A federal judge has awarded more than $2 million to a man wrongly convicted based on evidence falsified by Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist who created a multimillion-dollar crisis in the state’s criminal justice system. It is the first case in which Dookhan has been ordered to compensate any of the thousands of defendants whose cases she tainted. U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani determined that Leonardo Johnson, 53, of Dorchester, is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages for the 15 months he served in prison, because Dookhan gave “false testimony to convict an innocent man.’’
https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2017/06/21/judge-orders-dookhan-to-pay-2m-to-wrongly-convicted-man

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Frits Van Beelen: South Australia; A discredited pathologist Colin Manock case: On-going appeal. Bulletin...Court told fibres from Frits Van Beelen’s jumper found at scene of 1972 murder of teen Deborah Lynch... Kevin Borrick QC, who has represented Van Beelen since his first trial in 1972, urged the five High Court justices to be cautious of the fibre evidence, saying it was a common dye and thread used in myriad of clothing at the time. The first day’s argument centred on submissions that former state chief forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock’s 1973 evidence on the time of death was flawed. Mr Kimber told the court on Thursday that even if the evidence of Dr Manock was excluded from the 1973 trial, both the evidence of the clothing fibres and the emotional testimony of Ms Leach’s mother would still have resulted in a guilty verdict. Mr Borrick said the scientific evidence levelled at his long-time client had been gradually decreasing since the first trial, when the Crown claimed it could show 27 “matchings” across nine categories at the crime scene to Van Beelen.By the time of the second trial a year later, this had decreased to five categories. The appeal being considered by the High Court only covers two categories — time of death and the fibres." Reporter Mitch Mott; Adelaide Now; June 22:



"The transfer of clothing fibres helps prove that Frits Van Beelen murdered a teenage girl on an Adelaide beach almost 50 years ago, the High Court has heard. Director of Public Prosecutions, Adam Kimber SC, used the second and final day of submissions to a full sitting of the High Court in Adelaide on Thursday to argue that Van Beelen was inextricably linked to the rape and murder of Deborah Leach, 15, at Taperoo Beach on July 15, 1971. Ms Leach’s semi-clothed body was found partially buried beneath seaweed at the beach, with only a foot obvious to the search party who found her more than 12 hours after she was last seen by her mother. Mr Kimber told the court that numerous fibres were found on Ms Leach’s vest, which was exposed by her jumper being pulled up over her mouth.  Of the numerous fibres, 19 red and 17 black ones were ruled to have come from a foreign source, not Ms Leach’s own clothing or environment. On July 29, 1971, Van Beelen was interviewed by police for the first time and told police he had been wearing either a black and red or a blue jumper at the time of his walk on the beach on the day of Ms Leach’s death. When police attended his home, Van Beelen handed them a red and black jumper which he said he had worn that day. Two experts during Van Beelen’s second trial, which he was awarded after the guilty verdict from his first trial in 1972 was overturned on appeal, testified that fibres found on Ms Leach were indistinguishable from those from Van Beelen’s jumper. Three brown fibres were found on Van Beelen’s jumper, two of which were found to be similar to Ms Leach’s jumper. Van Beelen told police he had not walked within 20 yards of the seaweed on Taperoo Beach but Mr Kimber said seaweed had been found on his jumper. Kevin Borrick QC, who has represented Van Beelen since his first trial in 1972, urged the five High Court justices to be cautious of the fibre evidence, saying it was a common dye and thread used in myriad of clothing at the time. The first day’s argument centred on submissions that former state chief forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock’s 1973 evidence on the time of death was flawed. Mr Kimber told the court on Thursday that even if the evidence of Dr Manock was excluded from the 1973 trial, both the evidence of the clothing fibres and the emotional testimony of Ms Leach’s mother would still have resulted in a guilty verdict. Mr Borrick said the scientific evidence levelled at his long-time client had been gradually decreasing since the first trial, when the Crown claimed it could show 27 “matchings” across nine categories at the crime scene to Van Beelen.By the time of the second trial a year later, this had decreased to five categories. The appeal being considered by the High Court only covers two categories — time of death and the fibres. The High Court will hand down its verdict on the appeal in August."
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/law-order/court-told-fibres-from-frits-van-beelens-jumper-found-at-scene-of-1972-murder-of-teen-deborah-lynch/news-story/d027aebc23cb758aebc0a135eb1d1339

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Dwayne Buck: Texas: Who Is Dangerous, and Who Dies? Dr. James Grigson? (AKA Dr. Death) Dr. Walter Quijano? Other experts who routinely found that a defendant posed a risk of future dangerousness? Errol Morris notes that "an appalling and racialized standard of “future dangerousness” has found its way into American courts. (Morris focuses on Duane Buck and Cristina Swarns, his hard-hitting attorney who has fought this 'life and death' madness in the courts..."I first became involved with all this while making my film “The Thin Blue Line.” I had read about Dr. James Grigson, an expert witness regularly called by the state of Texas. Some referred to him as “Dr. Death” because he would routinely find that the defendant posed a risk of future dangerousness, and thus should be executed. I met with Dr. Grigson in 1985, and on his recommendation I started interviewing Texas death row inmates. Among those Dr. Grigson had testified posed a risk of future dangerousness was Randall Dale Adams, a convicted cop killer — or at least, so it seemed. My film was finished, and Mr. Adams was exonerated. I had thought — stupidly, it turned out — that Dr. Grigson had been put out of business. Not so. The “dangerousness” provision of the Texas law remained very much in place. But I forgot about it. I had done my fair share of good — got an innocent man out of prison. Then, not long ago, I read about the case of Buck v. Davis, decided by the Supreme Court on Feb. 22. Duane Buck had been convicted of capital murder in 1997. He killed his ex-girlfriend and one of her friends. The details of the crime are appalling, but no less appalling is that Dr. Walter Quijano discussed Mr. Buck’s race as a factor in determining his future dangerousness. African-Americans, Dr. Quijano argued, are more likely to commit acts of violence. Though Dr. Quijano opined that Mr. Buck was not a risk of future dangerousness, his testimony about race remained an element for the jury to consider. Dr. Quijano has given similar testimony in other death penalty cases since 1991."


COMMENTARY: "Who Is Dangerous, and Who Dies? An appalling and racialized standard of “future dangerousness” has been used to condemn defendants. This lawyer fought it," by Errol Morris, published by The New York Times on June 7, 2017. (Errol Morris is a writer and filmmaker. He lives with his wife and French bulldog in Cambridge.)

GIST: "The death penalty, like abortion, is one of those hot-button topics that keeps popping up into the public consciousness, a roach motel for meretricious ideas and bad public policy — including racism. I would bet that if it involved putting white people to death for killing black people, it would have been abolished years ago. Still, it persists. Except our society — until recently — has come to believe that overt expressions of racism might not be a good thing. Better to keep a fig leaf over it than to explore its underbelly. In 1972, the Supreme Court found in the 5-4 decision of Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty as practiced in this country was unconstitutional under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. But the majority couldn’t agree on a rationale for its decision, so instead of one majority opinion, five separate concurrences were produced. While Justices Brennan and Marshall found the death penalty itself to be cruel and unusual punishment, Justices Stewart, White and Douglas focused on its arbitrariness, leaving the door wide open for states to rejigger their statutes and return to executions. In 1973, Texas did just that — the sentencing phase of a capital trial was separated from the guilt phase, and the jury was asked to consider “whether there is a probability that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society [future dangerousness].” In response to the Furman decision, Governor Preston Smith commuted the death sentences of 52 inmates in Texas, clearing out death row entirely. In 1976, consolidating cases from five different states (Georgia, Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Louisiana), the court in Gregg v. Georgia found that the death penalty was not unconstitutional in every case. Executions in Texas, now by lethal injection — Old Sparky, the Texas electric chair, had been retired — started back up in 1982. I first became involved with all this while making my film “The Thin Blue Line.” I had read about Dr. James Grigson, an expert witness regularly called by the state of Texas. Some referred to him as “Dr. Death” because he would routinely find that the defendant posed a risk of future dangerousness, and thus should be executed. I met with Dr. Grigson in 1985, and on his recommendation I started interviewing Texas death row inmates. Among those Dr. Grigson had testified posed a risk of future dangerousness was Randall Dale Adams, a convicted cop killer — or at least, so it seemed. My film was finished, and Mr. Adams was exonerated. I had thought — stupidly, it turned out — that Dr. Grigson had been put out of business. Not so. The “dangerousness” provision of the Texas law remained very much in place. But I forgot about it. I had done my fair share of good — got an innocent man out of prison. Then, not long ago, I read about the case of Buck v. Davis, decided by the Supreme Court on Feb. 22. Duane Buck had been convicted of capital murder in 1997. He killed his ex-girlfriend and one of her friends. The details of the crime are appalling, but no less appalling is that Dr. Walter Quijano discussed Mr. Buck’s race as a factor in determining his future dangerousness. African-Americans, Dr. Quijano argued, are more likely to commit acts of violence. Though Dr. Quijano opined that Mr. Buck was not a risk of future dangerousness, his testimony about race remained an element for the jury to consider. Dr. Quijano has given similar testimony in other death penalty cases since 1991. Prompted by the Supreme Court’s decision in Saldaño v. Texas (2000), which vacated the sentence of Victor Hugo Saldaño because Dr. Quijano had testified that Mr. Saldaño’s Hispanic ethnicity made him a greater risk of future dangerousness, State Attorney General John Cornyn promised that his office would not object if the other defendants (Mr. Buck among them) sought to overturn their death sentences based on Dr. Quijano’s testimony. In Mr. Buck’s case, though, they did object, claiming that since it was the defense attorney who put Dr. Quijano on the stand and allowed his testimony into the record without objection, the State of Texas owed the defendant nothing. I called Mr. Buck’s attorney Christina Swarns, litigation director of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund Inc., to discuss the case....(Read on  at the link below for a fascinating discussion  between Errol Morris and Christina Swarns. HL) And so we’re back where we started, except things have gotten worse. We have elected a president who invokes future dangerousness with respect to country of national origin (and also religion). In 1977 it was Dr. Grigson and sociopathy; in 1997, Dr. Quijano and race; and now it is Donald Trump and a list of six countries. Think of it as a very thinly disguised form of racism against Muslims. Christina Swarns sent me several legal briefs submitted to the Supreme Court in support of Buck, among them, a brief from the National Black Law Students Association. “Whether by a judge, a prosecutor or defense counsel, an appeal to a jury based on racial prejudice poisons our system of justice.” And from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: “Mr. Buck was entitled to have his dangerousness assessed on an individualized basis based on his personal attributes. Instead he received a death sentence tainted by 400 years of racial stereotyping.” Notwithstanding, the concept of dangerousness is alive and well. It took an egregious error to call it into question in Duane Buck’s case. But it should have been ruled as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1976 (under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments) and should be seen as unconstitutional today. Admittedly, there is a difference between a court of law and a presidential order involving immigration. But under any circumstance, should public policy be held hostage to racial and religious discrimination?"

The entire commentary can be found at:
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/opinion/errol-morris-interview-death-penalty.html?_r=0&referer=

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tyrone Noling: Ohio; Bulletin: On-going appeal for DNA testing; "Death row inmate Tyrone Noling’s life may depend on DNA testing, attorney tells high court; Portage prosecutor say further delays not needed."...Death row inmate Tyrone Noling’s life may depend on the DNA testing he is seeking to potentially exonerate him in the 1990 murder of an Atwater Township couple, his attorney told the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday. “This case has consequences,” attorney Brian Howe said during oral arguments. “There is the possibility of executing an innocent man.”...Reporter Stephanie Warsmith; The Beacon Journal; June 21, 2017.

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"Prosecution’s theory: Tyrone Noling, then 18, shot and killed Cora and Bearnhardt Hartig, both 81, in 1990 in their Atwater Township home during a robbery attempt. Pending issue: The 11th District Court of Appeals remanded Noling’s request for a new trial to the trial court. Noling’s attorneys say prosecutors failed to disclose evidence of an alternate suspect. The DNA testing issue first must be decided. To watch oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court: Visit http://bit.ly/2snlD2V. Death row inmate Tyrone Noling’s life may depend on the DNA testing he is seeking to potentially exonerate him in the 1990 murder of an Atwater Township couple, his attorney told the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday. “This case has consequences,” attorney Brian Howe said during oral arguments. “There is the possibility of executing an innocent man.” Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci, however, told the justices that no additional steps are needed and that any further testing will delay justice for the victims in the long-pending case. “This has to end at some point,” he said. It now will be up to the justices to decide if Noling’s testing requests should be granted. Noling’s attorneys are asking the high court for access to the complete results of DNA testing already done, for shell casings to be run through a federal database to see if the murder weapon was used in any other crimes, and for a reputable lab to do DNA testing using the latest technology for shell casings and ring boxes from the crime scene. Portage County prosecutors claim Noling, 45, shot and killed Cora and Bearnhardt Hartig, both 81, in a robbery attempt. The case hinges on the testimony of Noling’s co-defendants, all of whom have recanted. No fingerprints or other evidence put him at the scene. He has maintained his innocence. Howe, who is with the Ohio Innocence Project, pointed during his oral argument Tuesday to the case of Clarence Elkins, who was exonerated based on DNA evidence. Elkins was wrongfully imprisoned and spent nearly eight years in prison for the murder of his Barberton mother-in-law. He was freed after a DNA test of a cigarette butt from another prison inmate was linked to DNA from the crime scene. Earl Gene Mann, the inmate, pleaded guilty and is now serving a life sentence. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the state’s crime lab, determined that DNA tests of casings and ring boxes in the Noling case were contaminated by detectives and crime lab technicians. The same argument was initially made in the Elkins case. If DNA testing hadn’t been done, Howe said, “Earl Mann would still be a free man.” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor asked Howe if it’s true that “an item can be contaminated, but still contain important information.” Howe said it can, unless it is determined that the item is “so contaminated that it is unsuitable for testing.” O’Connor asked Howe if the defense’s goal is to compare the DNA profiles of the shell casings, ring boxes and a cigarette butt found in the Hartigs’ driveway. Howe said if a male profile was found on these items that didn’t belong to Noling, this would be a strong argument that Noling should be excluded as a suspect and granted a new trial. O’Connor asked Vigluicci during his oral argument whether he thought DNA on these items — not belonging to Noling — would be probative or important evidence. Vigluicci said this wouldn’t be possible because BCI determined the shell casings and ring boxes had been contaminated. O’Connor pressed him again, though, on whether this result would be significant. “No. We have no evidence Noling was in the room where the ring boxes are,” Vigluicci said. “We have no evidence he loaded the gun that killed the Hartigs."
http://www.ohio.com/news/local/death-row-inmate-tyrone-noling-s-life-may-depend-on-dna-testing-attorney-tells-high-court-portage-prosecutor-say-further-delays-not-needed-1.775703

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Frits Van Beelen; South Australia; Bulletin; On-going appeal: 9 News: 22 June; 2017..."Defence counsel Kevin Borick QC told the court that evidence on the time of death from pathologist Colin Manock's was so wrong it should never have been presented to the jury as a key factor in the case. "It had no basis at all in science," Mr Borick said. "It had no scientific validity. Dr Manock was completely wrong." As a result, Mr Borick said there had been a substantial miscarriage of justice."


"A High Court hearing is set to continue as an Adelaide man, found guilty of murdering a teenage girl 45 years ago, makes his last bid to overturn his conviction. Frits Van Beelen was originally sentenced to death but served 17 years' jail for murdering 15-year-old Deborah Leach, who was found buried in seaweed at Taperoo Beach in July 1971. The Full Bench of the South Australian Supreme Court rejected his latest appeal in July last year, ruling against his contention that new and compelling evidence had emerged. But the High Court is considering an appeal against that ruling and was told on Wednesday that later science had seriously discredited forensic evidence at Van Beelen's trial. Defence counsel Kevin Borick QC told the court that evidence on the time of death from pathologist Colin Manock's was so wrong it should never have been presented to the jury as a key factor in the case. "It had no basis at all in science," Mr Borick said. "It had no scientific validity. Dr Manock was completely wrong." As a result, Mr Borick said there had been a substantial miscarriage of justice.
Van Beelen has always maintained his innocence........The High Court hearing continues on Thursday with more evidence from Director of Public Prosecutions Adam Kimber.On Wednesday, he said while Dr Manock had been wrong to limit the time of death to a period of one hour, that did not eliminate Van Beelen as the possible killer."
http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/06/22/03/34/van-beelen-high-court-appeal-to-continue

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Frits Van Beelen: South Australia; Graham Archer's excellent 'Today Tonight Adelaide' Documentary' on his case: A 'must see' backgrounder for today's appeal - with fascinating video footage..." "For 45 years he's maintained his innocence. Now, could one of South Australia's most controversial convictions be overturned?"...From ABC News story: (Reporter Candice Prosser): ""In order for Van Beelen to be convicted the jury had to accept Dr Manock's evidence that the death occurred between 4:10 and 4:30," Mr Borick said. "They had to accept that the death occurred at the time he was at the beach, that's 4:15 and 4:30 but that's an error, Dr Manock was completely wrong." Mr Borick told the court the evidence presented at trial was unreliable. "The miscarriage of justice occurs because an unscientific opinion was expressed which was not only wrong, but it was scientifically invalid," he said. He said evidence of fibres found on the teenager's clothing that allegedly matched Mr Van Beelen's clothing was also disputed at the time. "The value of that fibre evidence, in my submission, falls away to nothing until we have Van Beelen at the beach at the relevant time ... when the death occurred," Mr Borick said. "It's still always going to come back to the fact that the jury were told that the death occurred before 4.30. If it occurred after 4.30, which had to be a reasonable possibility, then the jury could not have convicted."


GIST: "For 45 years he's  maintained his innocence. Now,  could one of South Australia's most controversial convictions be overturned?"

The entire documentary can be found at:

https://www.todaytonightadelaide.com.au/stories/van-beelen

See ABC News Story (Reporter Candice Prosser) on the on-going  appeal  before five justices at the link below: (Under the heading 'Van Beelen murder appeal lawyer citicizes original evidence as 'unscientific.')..."A man convicted of murdering an Adelaide teenager more than 40 years ago has appealed to the High Court, arguing flawed forensic evidence presented at his trial amounted to a substantial miscarriage of justice. Frits Van Beelen, 70, was originally sentenced to death over the murder of Deborah Leach but was later released from prison after serving 17 years. The 15-year-old girl was drowned and sexually assaulted at Taperoo Beach in 1971. Mr Van Beelen has launched a new appeal on the grounds of "fresh and compelling" evidence under recent legislative amendments. His lawyers have argued flawed evidence presented at his trial by forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock about the time of the teenager's death cast doubt over the conviction. Mr Van Beelen lost a Supreme Court appeal in a majority decision, and is now seeking to have that ruling overturned in the High Court. It is the first time the new appeal laws have been tested in the High Court. Mr Van Beelen's lawyer, Kevin Borick QC, told the court there had been a miscarriage of justice. "In order for Van Beelen to be convicted the jury had to accept Dr Manock's evidence that the death occurred between 4:10 and 4:30," Mr Borick said. "They had to accept that the death occurred at the time he was at the beach, that's 4:15 and 4:30 but that's an error, Dr Manock was completely wrong." Mr Borick told the court the evidence presented at trial was unreliable. "The miscarriage of justice occurs because an unscientific opinion was expressed which was not only wrong, but it was scientifically invalid," he said. He said evidence of fibres found on the teenager's clothing that allegedly matched Mr Van Beelen's clothing was also disputed at the time. "The value of that fibre evidence, in my submission, falls away to nothing until we have Van Beelen at the beach at the relevant time ... when the death occurred," Mr Borick said. "It's still always going to come back to the fact that the jury were told that the death occurred before 4.30. If it occurred after 4.30, which had to be a reasonable possibility, then the jury could not have convicted.""

 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-21/evidence-disputed-at-van-beelen-murder-appeal/8639604

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Keith Kutska: Wisconsin...Bulletin: One of five men still in prison for their involvement in the death of Tom Monfils, he is seeking a U.S. Supreme Court review of Monfils murder case...USA Today Network; June 13, 2017...."Keith Kutska is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his conviction in the 1992 murder of Tom Monfils at a Green Bay paper mill. Kutska filed a request for review of the case by the Supreme Court on May 18. One of five men serving life in prison for Monfils' death, Kutska appealed his conviction in Brown County Circuit Court in 2015, arguing that his trial lawyer and subsequent lawyers were ineffectual."...(From earlier post)..."So, what does Cal Monfils think happened to his brother that November day in 1992? Monfils finds himself leaning to the latest defense theory, pitched by lawyers from the Minnesota Innocence Project, that Tom Monfils killed himself "It's my brother, and I don't want to say that, but it's a possibility," Monfils said. "I feel bad for his wife, his kids and everybody if it happened that way, but it sure would be terrible to have six lives put away for nothing." Tom Monfils' widow, Susan, originally told family members she thought Tom had committed suicide, Cal Monfils said. That information had never been shared with the defendants, their lawyers or the jury, according to defense lawyers who have taken up the case for the five remaining defendants. Those lawyers claim in newly filed court documents that Tom Monfils was depressed and stressed from his troubled marriage and from realizing he was on the outs with co-workers for reporting the theft of a piece of extension cord by fellow union member Keith Kutska. Cal Monfils won't pretend to know what was on his brother's mind, but "I also can't say it didn't happen."..." Those defense lawyers, who have mounted an effort to get a new trial for the men, claim the original defense lawyers were lulled into accepting a false conclusion by the medical examiner claiming that Tom Monfils was clearly murdered. New defense lawyers now say independent medical experts dispute then-medical examiner Dr. Helen Young's conclusion that injuries on Tom Monfils' body happened before he died and before he was in the vat, indicating he was murdered. Those lawyers argue in court documents that their medical experts say the injuries more likely happened to Monfils' body while inside the vat. "If you get a diagnosis from a doctor, people will tell you to get a second opinion, yet they got one opinion from the coroner," Cal Monfils said."


"Keith Kutska is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his conviction in the 1992 murder of Tom Monfils at a Green Bay paper mill. Kutska filed a request for review of the case by the Supreme Court on May 18. One of five men serving life in prison for Monfils' death, Kutska appealed his conviction in Brown County Circuit Court in 2015, arguing that his trial lawyer and subsequent lawyers were ineffectual. Reserve Judge James Bayorgeon, who heard the original case in 1995, rejected Kutska's bid for a new trial, as did a state court of appeals.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to review the case in April. Kutska and five others were convicted in 1995 of conspiring to murder Monfils. Prosecutors said Monfils was killed after he told authorities Kutska had stolen a piece of electrical wiring from the former James River mill, where they both worked. Kutska was suspended from work and then incited others to confront Monfils, 35, who disappeared that day. His body was found a day or two later in a pulp vat. Rey Moore, Michael Hirn, Dale Basten and Michael Johnson are each serving life terms.Mike Piaskowski was released when a federal appellate judge ruled there had been insufficient evidence to convict him."

The entire story can be found at:

 http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2017/06/12/kutska-seeks-supreme-court-review-monfils-murder-case/390702001/

See earlier post at the link below: ""Cal Monfils finds it easier to believe his brother committed suicide in 1992 than thinking six guys murdered him in a Green Bay paper mill and kept quiet about it all these years. "It's almost more believable than that six guys kept a secret for 20 years for what they say was union brotherhood," Monfils said. A jury found otherwise in 1995, and the six men went to prison for conspiracy to murder Thomas Monfils at the then-James River Mill.........Cal Monfils, 47, of Green Bay finds himself in the unusual position of having joined the defendants' battle for freedom. Cal says he is at odds with most of his family on the issue, but he can't swallow the notion the men are anything other than innocent. "These six people, they all had children, houses, they held responsible jobs," Monfils said. "It really makes no sense. It's hard to believe someone could be in jail all these years, remaining quiet. … It's a pretty weak glue that holds them together. Somebody would have cracked. Or told their wife or best buddy, and none of those came forward either." Back in the 1990s, when his brother's death was an unsolved crime, police secretly recorded conversations, performed garbage searches and took a variety of other extreme measures, "and it all yielded nothing," Cal Monfils said. "It kind of makes you think there was nothing. "These guys would not have been sharp enough to throw off police so completely." Monfils said police even sent him undercover to talk to one of the defendants, Michael Hirn, in hope that Monfils would record him saying something incriminating. "He said, 'Cal, I don't know what happened …. But the police have it wrong. We need to get the FBI in on this.' And his family did contact the FBI, because they felt the police were heading in the wrong direction," Cal Monfils said. "I'm not saying I believed him, but it raised doubt." That doubt has continued to grow, he said. He was unconvinced at the trial, unsurprised in 2001 when a federal judge threw out the case against defendant Mike Piaskowski, and found himself even more convinced after reading "The Monfils Conspiracy," a book by two local authors that claims to reveal fatal errors in the police investigation of the case. So, what does Cal Monfils think happened to his brother that November day in 1992? Monfils finds himself leaning to the latest defense theory, pitched by lawyers from the Minnesota Innocence Project, that Tom Monfils killed himself "It's my brother, and I don't want to say that, but it's a possibility," Monfils said. "I feel bad for his wife, his kids and everybody if it happened that way, but it sure would be terrible to have six lives put away for nothing." Tom Monfils' widow, Susan, originally told family members she thought Tom had committed suicide, Cal Monfils said. That information had never been shared with the defendants, their lawyers or the jury, according to defense lawyers who have taken up the case for the five remaining defendants. Those lawyers claim in newly filed court documents that Tom Monfils was depressed and stressed from his troubled marriage and from realizing he was on the outs with co-workers for reporting the theft of a piece of extension cord by fellow union member Keith Kutska. Cal Monfils won't pretend to know what was on his brother's mind, but "I also can't say it didn't happen. "He was forever going to be the guy that made the call. He was going to be that guy." Cal Monfils accepts the claim by defense lawyers that investigators should have at least given credence to that theory back during the investigation and done psychological analysis. Those defense lawyers, who have mounted an effort to get a new trial for the men, claim the original defense lawyers were lulled into accepting a false conclusion by the medical examiner claiming that Tom Monfils was clearly murdered. New defense lawyers now say independent medical experts dispute then-medical examiner Dr. Helen Young's conclusion that injuries on Tom Monfils' body happened before he died and before he was in the vat, indicating he was murdered. Those lawyers argue in court documents that their medical experts say the injuries more likely happened to Monfils' body while inside the vat. "If you get a diagnosis from a doctor, people will tell you to get a second opinion, yet they got one opinion from the coroner," Cal Monfils said. "One person looked at the body." The lawyers of the Minnesota Innocence Project, who took up the case after friends of the authors of "The Monfils Conspiracy" shared the book with contacts in the Minneapolis area, recently filed a motion with the Brown County Clerk of Court's office asking to vacate the convictions "in the interest of justice." The case was automatically assigned to Circuit Court Branch VI, the branch presided over by Judge John Zakowski, who was the district attorney prosecuting the case when the six men were convicted in 1992. "I could have taken care of it in 10 minutes," joked Zakowski this week. Zakowski took himself off the new case, which was then reassigned to another branch. Zakowski continues to defend the convictions, as he has done during appeals processes through the years and upon the publishing of "The Monfils Conspiracy." The book, done with Piaskowski's help, claims police botched the investigation from the beginning and concocted the mill confrontation between Monfils and the six defendants. "That's how far we've come — now the argument is he wasn't even murdered," Zakowski said of the latest defense gambit. "It's just ridiculous." http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/local/2014/11/08/new-legal-team-argues-monfils-death-suicide/18730633/